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Broad spectrum CBD: what is it and what does it do?

If you’re looking for the entourage effect without the THC, broad spectrum CBD could be the answer.

Whether you have already tried CBD or are thinking of giving it a try you may have come across products labelled “Full Spectrum CBD oil” “Broad Spectrum CBD oil” or “CBD Isolate”. 

There are a few important differences in how these products work. Here we’ll explain what they are and help you decide which one is best for you and your needs.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of over 500 active compounds in the Cannabis Sativa plant which include cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes. The other well known active compound in cannabis is THC (the part of cannabis or marijuana that causes the “high”)

It is important to note that unlike THC, CBD is not psychotropic and will not make you feel high

Where does broad spectrum CBD oil come from?

CBD oil comes from hemp
CBD oil comes from hemp, one of the many varieties of the Cannabis Sativa plant.

Broad Spectrum CBD is made from hemp, a type of Cannabis Sativa that has a very low THC content. These plants were traditionally used to make rope, cloth and other textiles so height and high fibre content were important traits. 

Modern CBD hemp plants, however, are different. They are smaller and have been bred to be high in CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids but low in THC to give oils with a high therapeutic value.

What does Broad Spectrum mean?

To put it simply, broad spectrum CBD oil is much more than just CBD. As an extract of the plant it contains all the many cannabinoids of the plant: CBD, CBG, CBN and CBC to name just a few. It also contains flavonoids and terpenes. The only cannabinoid it will NOT contain is THC, the psychoactive element found in marijuana. 

There is strong evidence emerging that all of these cannabinoids have their own individual therapeutic benefits, but when combined together, they compliment each other and work in harmony, in what is called the Entourage Effect.

What is the entourage effect? 

The entourage effect means that when the cannabinoid CBD is taken alone, it has less impact. The other flavonoids, cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant complement and enhance CBD’s effects. Like an orchestra where each instrument enhances the overall sound, cannabis is greater as a whole than the sum of its parts.

What is full spectrum CBD oil?

Full spectrum CBD oil is the same as broad spectrum but with one important difference: it contains THC up to the legal limit, which is normally 0.2% or 0.3%. This is not normally enough THC to give a noticeable psychoactive effect, but may be too high for people who are sensitive to THC or suffering from anxiety- based issues.

What is CBD isolate?

CBD Isolate is basically totally pure CBD which contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes or other plant matter and has no odour or taste. The advantage of this is its purity, however because it does not contain any of the other beneficial compounds, it may not offer all the health benefits of broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD.

How does CBD work?

Cannabidiol (CBD) activates the body’s endocannabinoid system. The human body creates endocannabinoids – neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brain and immune cells. These receptors help the body regulate pain as well as anxiety and depression.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, making it work more efficiently.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, making it work more efficiently.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The ECS is your body’s monitoring mechanism. Its duty is to maintain internal processes in equilibrium, regardless of external factors. “Homeostasis” is the state of being in perfect balance.

The ECS, like the instrument panel in an aeroplane, monitors and adjusts your hormone levels, heart rate, body temperature, and other vital parameters all the time. When one of these is out – whether you’re too tired or overheated for example – your body sends a signal to the ECS to restore it to normal range.

In this way, it affects how we feel pain, whether acute or chronic, as well as regulating immune response, fertility, sleep, hormones, body temperature and stress management among other things.

The ECS is affected by cannabinoids in different ways. THC binds to the receptors of the ECS and simulates their function, producing psychotropic effects.

Cannabidiol, on the other hand, does not bind to the ECS receptors but rather inhibits the body’s natural endocannabinoids from being broken down, allowing our bodies to use them for longer and enabling our bodies to help themselves.

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD has a wide range of applications and medicinal uses. Here are just a few examples:


Its use for epileptic individuals is well documented. Epidolex, a pharmaceutical drug containing CBD, is authorised worldwide for children with Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which can cause hundreds of seizures each day.

This oral solution has been clinically proven to help reduce the number of seizure occurrences by up to 40% in some youngsters. It’s difficult to obtain on prescription, but it can be a significant difference for those who get it.

Muscle spasm relief

A study in 2019 found that cannabis could help with muscular issues associated with MS and also provide effective pain relief.

In Europe, Sativex, a mouth spray that contains both THC and CBD, has been licensed to help with muscular stiffness and spasms, known as spasticity, in people with multiple sclerosis.

There’s also evidence that cannabis can help with the shakes and pains caused by fibromyalgia, as well as the spasms brought on by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

It’s crucial to note that in the treatment of muscular spasms, a variety of cannabinoids are required, including both CBD and the restricted THC. Unfortunately, Sativex is presently available only to a select group of MS patients, leaving those who seek it for other reasons no choice but to look on the black market.

Pain relief

According to studies, CBD oil can help those who suffer from chronic pain. Whether you’re dealing with arthritis or other types of pain, CBD provides a natural solution for managing inflammation and discomfort without the side effects.

CBD oil may help with chronic pain. When cells are damaged as a result of accident or disease, the body detects the damage and activates inflammation, which is an inflammatory process that occurs via the circulation. CBD lowers inflammation in a natural way, making it useful for reducing these unpleasant reactions.

Mental Health 

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been found to help patients with schizophrenia by reducing the severity of symptoms including hallucinations.

It has also been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. 


El CBD de amplio espectro es ideal para relajar a las personas con problemas de ansiedad
El CBD de amplio espectro es ideal para relajar a las personas con problemas de ansiedad

Studies suggest that CBD may help those dealing with anxiety. CBD interacts with receptors in the brain that control mood, stress levels, and pain binding to the same receptors as anandamide, a cannabinoid which reduces anxiety.

To put it another way, when you use CBD, it helps your brain and body to naturally reduce anxiety.

It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to alleviate GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) symptoms by reducing chronic inflammation in the body’s immune system, a common cause of these conditions.

Many individuals say that cannabis helps them sleep better. CBD relaxes the mind, making you more calm and reducing the cycle of worry triggered by sleepless nights, which in turn causes more worry.


CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects are well recognized.

CBD has been shown in studies to impact this endocannabinoid neuron function, reduce inflammation, and interact with neurotransmitters in a number of diseases, including arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and lupus.

CBD for Covid 19 

A study carried out in 2020 by researchers from the Dental College of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia, discovered that CBD may help with oxygen levels, inflammation, and lung damage caused by adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS is a severe condition in which the lungs become full of fluid, making breathing difficult and preventing oxygen from entering the body. It’s one the main causes of Covid 19 deaths.

CBD boosted the amounts of a peptide called apelin, an important component of our anti-inflammatory response.

When a person’s blood pressure or levels of inflammation surge in a specific location, apelin levels also rise in that area, signalling the white blood cells to combat the virus and reduce inflammation.

The researchers used modelling to find out that in individuals with Covid 19, apelin levels dropped to near-zero in both the lungs and all over the body. CBD, on the other hand, boosted apelin levels but also improved lung function.

More tests are needed, but the early results appear promising.

Skin complaints

Both broad spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils may help treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. 

Dry skin

Broad Spectrum CBD oil is rich in unsaturated fats, and high in α-linolenic acid, which is also present in large amounts in fish and flax seeds.

Fatty acids in fish oil are particularly beneficial to your skin. They help keep your skin hydrated, smooth, and working properly by keeping it from drying out.

CBD has been found to help control oil production in our skin, according to a 2014 study. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid was tested on the sebaceous glands, which regulate skin oil production.

The study found CBD to be an effective method of preventing sebum (oil) from emerging from the skin. Excess sebaceous glands can result in skin problems including acne..

However if the sebaceous glands don’t make enough oil, skin can become dry resulting in eczema.

Acne and acne scars

CBD can treat a number of skin conditions
CBD can treat a number of skin conditions

CBD oil may help reduce acne. It can assist the body in producing less oil. CBD oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for people who suffer from skin issues.

Inflammatory skin conditions 

CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can assist with chronic inflammation, which causes ailments such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

It may also be used to treat both systemically and locally the discomfort that comes with these issues, both topically when applied externally or internally.

There is also some evidence that it can assist in the reduction of skin cells, which is the source of psoriasis.

UV damage and hyperpigmentation

Broad Spectrum CBD oil contains both α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. These can help repair UV skin damage by aiding the removal of melanin.

What potential issues could I have by taking a broad spectrum CBD oil?

Broad spectrum CBD oil has very few contraindications and is considered to be very low risk. Unlike full spectrum it does not contain THC and therefore should not cause a false positive drug test.

This lack of THC also means you benefit from the entourage effect, without needing to worry about any psychoactive effects.

CBD is used by many people suffering from insomnia, and in some people it can cause drowsiness although this usually wears off in a day or two.

It can also interact with a very small number of medicines including blood pressure medicines due to its own blood pressure lowering effects.

It can also react with medicines that carry a “Grapefruit warning”

If you are taking other medications, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional before adding CBD to your regime.

Forms of CBD available

CBD is available in a wide range of forms, including edibles, topicals, oils and tinctures. Each one is processed differently by the body but they all contain all the  cannabinoids found in cannabis plants apart from THC.

Broad and full spectrum CBD oil

Broad spectrum CBD oil is easy to take under the tongue
Broad spectrum CBD oil is easy to take under the tongue

CBD oil is produced via a process called Extraction that separates CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids from the plant. These are then combined with a carrier oil such as hemp seed, coconut (MCT oil) or olive to produce different strengths of oils.

Quality CBD products will be labelled with the percentage: 5%, 10% 20% and so on, as well as the total amount of milligrams CBD in each bottle: 500mg, 1000mg, 5000mg per bottle etc. Generally, the higher the percentage, the more costly the oil.

Oils are an excellent choice for individuals who are unfamiliar with CBD products since they simply take drops under the tongue – no fussing with pills or edibles that may have a harsh taste!

CBD tinctures 

CBD tinctures use high strength alcohol to extract the elements from the plant. Alcohol is also used as a foundation for the finished product. CBD tinctures can contain 60 or 70% alcohol, depending on the manufacturer.

CBD tinctures have a longer shelf life, but are also more bitter. If you have an alcohol sensitivity, of course, oil will be a better choice.

CBD flowers

For those that enjoy vaping or smoking, CBD buds or flowers are available. These are generally well-formed seedless buds from indoor cultivation. Flowers can be quite expensive and quality varies widely. As these are whole flowers from the plants, they are full spectrum and will contain all the cannabinoids, flavonoids of  the plant they have come from including THC. Broad spectrum flowers are not available at this time. The potency will depend on the potency of the plant they have come from.

The advantage of smoking or vaporising CBD is that it travels swiftly through your lungs and into your bloodstream. They are the quickest methods to consume CBD. They are also very effective as there is very little waste, so you get the full potency of the CBD flowers. The downside is the effects of the CBD wear off more quickly, and of course, it comes with THC

It’s important to remember that smoking marijuana can cause bronchitis and irritation of the airways in the lungs, whereas vaping is smoke-free, so it has fewer side effects.

CBD edibles

CBD edibles are food or sweets that have been infused with cannabis. They may be gummy bears, brownies, chocolates, or space cakes. The benefit of these is that they are portable and can be eaten as snacks.

CBD oil capsules

Gel capsules are an ideal choice for people who don’t want to taste the oil or have any residue from swallowing a capsule, but they’re more expensive than oils and tinctures and are obviously more processed.

The disadvantage is that they take longer to work, as they have to go through your stomach before entering your circulation system. They can also put extra strain on the liver of people suffering from liver complaints.

CBD balms and lotions

Las lociones y bálsamos son una forma fácil de aplicar el CBD de amplio espectro por vía tópica
Lotions and balms are an easy, way to apply broad spectrum CBD topically

Topicals are one of the most popular ways to consume CBD. Rather of eating it, you can apply it directly to certain regions of your body and receive localized pain relief.

The skin is a highly efficient semi-permeable barrier that “allows the good stuff in” while “keeping the bad stuff out.” This is why topicals are so successful for treating joint or muscular pain because they can work quickly on site instead of first passing through the digestive system and therefore losing effectivity.

Cannabidiol topicals are lotions, creams, salves, balms, serums, massage oils, and more. They’re frequently made for a specific purpose such as face cosmetics, lip balms, massage oils or pain relievers.

CBD topicals mixed with essential oils can be a wonderful method to unwind at the end of a long day.

How does broad spectrum CBD make you feel?

Many people feel that CBD has improved their quality of life (me included!)

CBD oil can make you feel calm and relaxed or energised and focused, depending on what you need. Some people find that CBD products help them sleep better at night, which is an especially useful benefit for those with chronic pain conditions. 

Many CBD oil users say they feel something like an increase in their overall sense of well-being. Extensive research into the effects of CBD oil has shown its potential as a mood stabiliser, anxiety reliever and for the treatment of certain psychological disorders.

If you’re looking for the potential benefits of the entourage effect without the risk of anxiety caused by THC, then broad-spectrum CBD is probably the best choice for you.


Broad spectrum CBD oil is a great choice for those who want the benefits of the entourage effect without any risk of anxiety or psychoactive effects. It contains all the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes found in hemp, but none of the THC. That means you can enjoy all the therapeutic properties of cannabis without worrying about feeling high or getting anxious. 

Studies show that it is great for a multitude of conditions including chronic pain, inflammation, and insomnia. Why not give it a try? You may be surprised at how well broad spectrum CBD oil works to improve your health and wellness. 


How to choose the best broad spectrum CBD product

When choosing your broad spectrum CBD product, look for products that meet specific criteria of safety, quality and transparency.

  • This product is made by a company that offers third-party testing from an ISO 17025-compliant lab.
  • your broad spectrum CBD is not genetically modified and contains no more 0.08% THC.
  • The product has COA tests proving it has passed safety standards for pesticides, heavy metals and mould.

It’s a good idea to study the label and ingredient list carefully. CBD does not need a prescription, but you should talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner first so that they can advise you on what to expect and ensure that it will be beneficial.


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